You. Outside. In nature.
Our challenge to Canadians was simple: spend 30 minutes a day outside for 30 days in May. Cultivate the kind of habit you'll never want to break — a nature habit.
This year, more than 10,000 Canadians signed on for the 30 × 30 Nature Challenge, adding regular doses of green to their workdays and weekends. The Foundation team kept everyone motivated throughout the month with tips and challenges, and participants reported back on their progress. We heard stories of impromptu picnics, outdoor walking meetings and neighbourhood gatherings. We watched people move family dinners outside, play Frisbee at lunch with coworkers and discover new green spaces in their communities.
But most heartening of all were the preliminary findings of our 30 × 30 Challenge surveys. On average, participants doubled the time they spend in nature, from 4.5 hours to 8.6 hours a week. And thanks to their new nature habits, participants are sleeping better, feeling calmer and experiencing increased vitality.
Findings like this are not new. Researchers have been telling us for years that time in nature makes us happier, healthier and less stressed. It increases creativity and problem-solving ability. It lowers risk of heart attacks and colon cancer. It even makes us nicer, more empathetic humans, with more meaningful relationships and increased community involvement.
And yet, humans have never been more disconnected from nature. These days, we spend on average 9.3 hours a day sitting indoors. Researchers have concluded that this unprecedented level of inactivity is causing 5.3 million deaths per year — a similar level to smoking.
Want to start your own nature habit? Find inspiration here at davidsuzuki.org. And stay tuned — in September we'll be motivating families across the country to get outdoors as part of our Fall Family Challenge.
- Jode Roberts